Book Review: A Call From Jersey

A Call From Jersey, P.F. Kluge
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (September 2, 2010)
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Rating: 4 stars

A wonderfully told story of fathers, sons, and new beginnings, Kluge gives us plenty of fodder as we revel in the view points and stories of two narrators: German immigrant Hans Greifinger, and his very American, travel writing son George Griffin. Both men struggle with their tenuous relationship as they try to reconnect with one another.

The story begins through Hans eyes, as he steps off the boat from Germany into a new world and a new life. Like the old man lost in his memories, we forget ourselves as we relive the stories of the people he met, the places he traveled, the woman he loved, and the home and family he built. Through Hans, we meet his brother, Heinz, a risk taker who risks a bit too much for Hans' comfort and ends up back in the German army as WWII begins. As happens, Hans looses touch with his brother and vows all these years later to find out what became of him. And through all the memories, we experience the glory days of New York and New Jersey in the 1930s and 40s. We get to discover, along with his son, who Hans is and why.

Through George, we recognize our own struggles to understand what success means, and what it is to feel whole and "at home." 

Like so many other of Kluge's stories, A Call From Jersey magnifies the importance of family, relationships, and a sense of place. It's a heart warming read that pulls you right into the story then releases you to ponder your own place in the world.

Amazon readers gave it: 4.5 stars
Goodread readers gave it: 3.40 stars

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